The Sandal team that won the Pontefract League championship in 2016
Sandal is an ancient settlement two miles south of Wakefield, and is the site of a castle and a parish church that predates the Doomsday Book.
The inception of the cricket club is very vague and although it was said to be founded in 1874, it could well have heard the willow in previous years.
A good indicator of Sandal’s league beginnings comes from an original 1894 Wakefield & District Cricket League handbook that the club still has in its possession.
The handbook states that Sandal CC played adjacent to Sandal Railway Station, on Barnsley Road, which prior to residential development in the locality was across the road from the north east corner of the ground. . It is thought that the Club has played on the same ground since it was formed.
To this day there is a `birds’ eye’ view of the ground when travelling on the train to and from Barnsley.
The competing teams in 1894 were Thornhill, Crofton, Mapplewell, Nostell, Alverthorpe, Featherstone and Altofts Dodsworth.
Records show that in 1932 Sandal played Paton & Baldwins in the Wakefield & District Cup. This was a trophy between senior clubs from different leagues in the area.
On Tuesday July 16th 1935 there was a rare occurrence at College Grove , Wakefield in the ’Wakefield Cup Final’, when Sandal ‘A’ beat Sandal ‘B’, with the captains being P Stead and I Hollings respectively.
It was not until the 28th December 1950 that the Club purchased the Barnsley Road ground from H M Lane and G M Lane, in the sum of £400
In 1958 Sandal won the ‘Wakefield Cup’ again, with T Aaron being the captain.
Later in 1963 Sandal won the Wakefield & District Cricket League’s premier cup tournament the ‘Horbury Cup’.
The Club subsequently joined the West Riding League and three major achievements were made in the space of 16 years.
The 1st team were Division 3 Champions in 1973, Senior Cup winners in 1985 and finalists in 1989.
Sandal bowler, Derek Halman had the remarkable figures in 1978 of 9 wickets for 17 runs in an away match against Walton.
Harry Atkinson, one of the most accomplished seam bowlers in league cricket, was on Sandal’s books at one point. He found fame with a very good Hanging Heaton side that made great strides when joining the Bradford League.
However, it was in the Central Yorkshire League where he made most impact winning the League Bowling Averages in 1971 and 1974, and also performing the all-ten wicket feat in 1972 against Wakefield.
In the 1980s in a remarkable league game, Steve Crow scored a century, and Peter Cade took a hat trick, but Sandal still somehow contrived to lose the game by seven wickets.
Ian Shackleton was arguably the best wicket-keeper in the club’s history, and he holds the record for the number of times the `wicket keeping award’ was won by an individual in this competition. His abilities were acknowledged when in 1980 he left Sandal to join Castleford in the Yorkshire League.
The Club won the league’s ‘Six Hits’ trophy in consecutive seasons- Richard Shackleton in 1987, and Paul Romans in 1988.
Sandal were gaining a reputation of having a fine ground and this was endorsed when they hosted several West Riding League inter league games. By 1988 Sandal had won the accolade of possessing the best pitch in Division One.
In the 1989 season, the Wakefield Centenary Cup was contended for by most senior clubs within the boundaries of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Sandal got through to the semi final, and played Nostell, who had two of the then Australian test team within their ranks, Dean Jones and Tony Dodemaide.
Although Sandal lost they gained infamy when one of their bowlers had the temerity to bowl a ‘beamer’ at Dean Jones who sank to his knees to avoid being hit. The next ball was the only one Jones hit with any venom, and cleared the boundary with a six, presumably to teach the bowler a lesson.
In 1990 Sandal were accepted to join the Pontefract & District Cricket League. Incredibly, they were either promoted or relegated in each of the first eight seasons. However, this did bring silverware to the club when they won the Division 2 title in 1991 and the Division 3 title in 1994.
Batsman Ray Bowers made his mark in the title winning side of 1994 when he won the League Batting Averages.
In the early 2000’s the club’s old wooden pavilion was the subject of an arson attack, and although the damage was limited the club decided to apply for planning consent to build a new pavilion.
At the end of the 2005 season the pavilion was demolished, and the new brick version was ready for the 2006 season with 95% of the works carried out by devoted club members.
In 2003, Sandal was residing in Division Two when a remarkable feat by batsman Ian Shuttleworth put them very much on the local cricket map. He won the League Batting prize with an incredible average of 221.33.
Sandal ascended from Division Three to Division One between 2001 and 2008 and were Hepworth Trophy winners in 2007
After a loss of several key players saw a return to Division Three, Sandal embarked on a remarkable rise in stature by gaining promotion to Division Two in 2012
This was a remarkable season as they were comfortably in front of closest challengers Hatfield Town until a late loss of form. This resulted in a tighter race than anticipated with Sandal prevailing by just five points.
The stars of 2015 with the bat were Matthew Westwood (755 runs at 50.33), Karl Hewitt (798 runs at 42.00) and Danny Riley (607 runs at 37.94). The bowling strength revolved around Sam Noden (49 wkts), Lee Geldart (43 wkts) and Kieran Dransfield (25 wkts).
Much of their rise to prominence was down to the all-round abilities of Karl Hewitt who won a remarkable four individual prizes for different skills:
2012- Division 3 Bowling Averages
2013- Division 2 Batting Averages
2013- Division 1-3 All-Rounder Award
2015- Division 1-3 Wicket-Keeper Award
In 2016, the club held an AGM in the pavilion to decide whether to remain in the independent Pontefract League, or move to the Bradford League with its pyramid system. The latter was favoured and they formally applied to join the Bradford League.
Despite this potential move the club was determined to go out on a high and they challenged strongly in the First Division.
In a rain-splashed season it was often hard work and perseverance to get matches on, and their main rivals Brook Walton suffered more than most with nine abandonments or cancellations.
Fairburn were leaders well into the season, but Sandal kept gaining points on them, and on 10th September were huge favourites when they entertained South Kirkby CC on the last weekend. Brook Walton and Frickley Colliery could have overhauled them, but in reality a couple of bonus points would have clinched the title.
Sandal won the toss and elected to field and immediately had South Kirkby in trouble. They never recovered after opening bowler Sam Noden blasted the first four batsmen out for a cost of 27. They tottered to 61 all out from 20.2 overs with Noden finishing with 5-36, and his opening partner Lee Geldard taking 4-18.
The reply was rapid with opener Danny Riley racing to an unbeaten 30 as his team knocked the runs off in 8.3 overs for the loss of two wickets. The title triumph was ultimately achieved with a points variance of nine points.
It was a powerful batting line up with Kieran Dransfield topping the club averages with an average of 44.75, followed by Matthew Westwood (328 runs), Karl Hewitt (341 runs), Ian Shuttleworth (430 runs), Danny Riley (above, 492 runs) and Jack Gibson (139 runs) all averaging in excess of 30.
The bowling was dominated by Noden (64 wkts at 13.47), who won the league averages and Geldard (45 wkts at 13.71).
The last Sandal CC line-up to take part in the Pontefract & District League was comprised of:
Kristian Shuttleworth, Danny Riley, Matthew Westwood, Jack Gibson, Karl Hewitt, Kieran Dransfield, Christopher Gibson, Sam Noden, Michael Trevethan (Capt), Lee Geldard, Raymond Aignworth.
Sandal was one of the fancied teams in the 2017 Conference, and although their start was mixed, they put themselves in contention with a great run in the second half of the season. They were involved in two emphatic victories that had the hallmark of a team in waiting for promotion.
They amassed 338-4 against Rodley with Matthew Westwood top scoring with an unbeaten 146, and bowled their opponents out for 186. Later they bowled Gildersome out for 14 after scoring 247-6. Lee Geldard had the remarkable figures of seven wickets for two runs.
Towards the end of the season they ran out of steam losing vital matches which negated their promotion push. However, it was a good debut season with twelve wins taking them to 5th in the league. They also had some success in the Group B T20 reaching the final at Pudsey St Lawrence where they were defeated by Altofts.
Australian Darcy Kennelly proved be a very productive overseas signing scoring 507 runs at 36.21, and also taking 39 wickets at 14.28.
The team’s batting was solid with Ashley Westwood scoring 746 runs at 46.63 and Danny Riley the third batter to top 500 league runs. Lee Geldard (43 wkts) and Sam Noden (39 wkts) formed an effective three-pronged bowling attack with Kennelly.
The 2018 season was a mirror image of the previous one as they again finished fifth after a ponderous start.
Karl Hewitt was the leading batsman with 719 runs at 42.29, followed by Westwood (596 runs), while Benjamin Van Den Nieuwenhof, below, took the most wickets with 51 at 14.55.
The Jack Hampshire Cup illustrated Sandal’s potential when they beat Jer Lane, before meeting Keighley in the semi-final.
Keighley might have been favourites, but Sandal put themselves in the box seat at 111-2 batting first. Opener Ian Shuttleworth, who scored 66 runs, was at one point in total control, as the alarm bells were ringing for Keighley. However, Sandal’s tail did not wag and they were pegged back to 169-9.
After a sound start of 58-0, Keighley began to lose wickets and at 127-6 were in danger of not making the target. They edged their way closer, and it was left to skipper Paul Quinlan to settle their nerves with a quickfire innings of 30 from 19 balls, to ensure Keighley won by three wickets.
Sandal were crowned Conference champions in 2019
Sandal gains promotion
There was more solidity about the Sandal side of 2019, and they edged Great Preston for the title, and more importantly the one promotion place afforded by the league for the season.
The two teams were streets ahead of the rest, with both clubs deserving of promotion, and Great Preston will inevitably rue their misfortune.
They had four rain-affected games to Sandal’s two, and in their first clash were in a good position at 167-4 from 30.3 overs when the rain curtailed the match.
Despite Great Preston’s misfortune, Sandal won fifteen out of eighteen matches played and for the most part was dominant, and their winning margin at the top was 23-points. Their only real scare was during a one-wicket victory over Oulton which could have gone either way.
Late in the season, Great Preston had a chance to overtake Sandal when they clashed on Barnsley Road. Sandal batted first and set Great Preston a target of 210-8 after Karl Hewitt (71 runs) and Kristian Shuttleworth (54 runs) had ensured a competitive score.
Great Preston were the definite favourites at 154-4, but they just could not deal with the relentless seam bowling of Australian player Ryan Bishop-Perrett who took 5-55, and helped to dismiss them for 196. Bishop-Perrett had played grade cricket for Manly-Warringah CC in the NSW Premier competition.
Mathew Westwood (413 runs) was the top batsman for Sandal, but their strength was built around their three seamers who figured high in the league averages.
2- Ryan Bishop-Perrett 51 wickets Average 11.63 Best Bowling 7-34
3- Sam Noden 51 wickets Average 12.04 Best Bowling 7-28
6- Lee Geldard 34 wickets Average 14.59 Best bowling 5-12
Sandal won the Conference Second Team title in 2019
For 2020, Sandal stiffened their side signing two spinners in Zaeem Zulfqar and Juned Delair, and batsman Sam Scott. The strength of the side indicated a promotion challenge.
However, when Covid-19 struck, they had to be satisfied playing in the truncated Gordon Rigg League Cup and T20 Group B Cup. They had a highly successful season, but the two final defeats made it a bittersweet experience.
Sandal won eight out of eight group games to top the East Section of Division Two, but lost by 54 runs in the divisional final against Jer Lane.
They had put themselves into a very good position having Jer Lane at 91-6, but the late middle-order and tail rallied and took the score to 196-9. Brandon Hewlett (3-47) was the most successful bowler for Sandal.
Although they lost wickets in pursuit of the runs, they were always in with a chance with Riley at the crease. But, on his dismissal on 49 the batting fell away.
During the season, Matthew Westwood (318 runs) and Danny Riley (305 runs) were the top scorers in Division Two, while spinners Zulfqar (20 wkts) was the top wicket-taker with Delair (17 wkts) fourth.
When Sandal reached the T20 Group B Cup Final at Carlton, they were favourites to win against Northowram Fields. But, this tie did not go to the formbook as Sandal was outplayed on the day to the tune of 78 runs.
Northowram Fields batted first and at 58-2 after 10 overs, Sandal had a reasonable control of the game. However, the final 10 overs yielded 104, and the eventual target of 162 was competitive.
After sinking to 16-4 in reply, Karl Hewitt tried his hardest to revive his side with an innings of 38, but once he departed the writing was on the wall, as Sandal was bowled out for 84.
Sandal's second team provided silverware for the club when they defeated Ossett to win the Second Teams Division Two League Cup.
Sandal's triumphant second team after beating Ossett in the final